Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has described last minute efforts by Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to deliver Nigeria Air as an attempt the hoodwink the country.
Its spokesman, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, said the association is not opposed to having a national carrier, but against any project packaged as a contraption, shadowy and not in the overall interest of Nigerians.
The association also said recent moves by Sirika to bring in an aircraft preparatory for the take-off is a flagrant abuse of court orders on the project.
A statement by Okonkwo reads: “We have noted the comments by Sirika that he Nigeria Air will begin operations before May 29. He also said an aircraft was on its way to Nigeria in less than 24 hours. These statements and actions are in disobedience to orders of the Federal High Court which halted the moves by the minister to float the airline until the determination of the substantive suit brought by AON against it.
“AON welcomes the establishment of more airlines in Nigeria for we believe that the skies are big enough to accommodate all.
However, we are against any contraption that is shadowy and not in the overall best interest of the country. We need the minister to come forward, defend and counter the damning submissions in our suit.
“It is disturbing that a minister is desperately hoodwinking the entire nation into accepting a massively flawed process just 72 hours to the end of his seven-year tenure, even as the courts have halted him.
The incoming administration should not be blackmailed into accepting a contraption that would hurt the Nigerian economy and destroy jobs in favour of one or two individuals and a foreign country by this hurried last minute desperation”.